no more white trash water sports

hose play stephanieklein
Livin Large

"So, I think maybe we should lay off the white trash activities around here, no? I mean, they’re fully dressed in their clothes out there, and she’s spraying them with water," Phil observes through the window of our home office.

"Well, it’s decidedly less white trash when it’s your nanny who’s doing the hosing," Megan adds with a smile.

"I have never, ever, hosed them down," I say raising my hand. "Nor have I subjected them to the atrocity that is a blowup pool." I can’t help but be marginally disgusted by them. It’s the idea of the undrained plastic pool, with soggy leaves, traces of excrement, and insects swimming their cares away like Fraggles. But kids need to be kids, and these kids don’t give a scorpion about bugs or dirt… as it should be. So do I cave in and just get a blowup pool again? (I hear we had one once). I’ve always preferred  taking them "swimming" in the master bathroom tub, but it’s not the same as getting to run and splash about like sprites.

"Well, we have to do something," Phil says, looking to me. "Can’t you look to find them a fancy blowup pool? One with a slide," he asks. They seem not to be very crazy about the sprinklers, which I thought was a nice compromise. I tried spitting on them, but it backfired, and now it’s how they’ve learned to express love: through air hankying.

It’s settled. No more white trash water sports are going down at this house. Nope, ta’ ta’ golden showers. You sweet precious ones are going to bathe in the tub, not a bucket. And there will be no more spray downs with the hose out back.

I am actually glad we resisted building an in-ground pool straight away; I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night given the latest statistics. I know we have access to a pool at the club, but when it’s hot as all balls here, what is one to do with two hot potatoes?

"Federal statistics show that children under one year most often drown in bathtubs, buckets, or toilets, while children from one to four years old drown most often in residential swimming pools. Most young children who drowned in pools were last seen in the home, had been out of sight less than five minutes, and were in the care of one or both parents at the time." —KXAN

"The answer is not a fancy blowup pool, Phil. It’s more swim lessons… and more Xanex for mama." 

2 YEARS AGO: Cows, Pigs, Chicken, and Things
5 YEARS AGO: Burn Baby Burn



  1. “Why are we respecting someone now that he’s dead when while he was alive he was mostly at best a freak and at worst a monster?”

    Good points. I agree. What is with the sacredness of death? Is it some sort of primitive, hushed, whistle-past-the-cemetery-type of behavior? Why do we have to forget what harm someone caused in life, simply because they’re dead now? Is being dead enough “punishment”? Is that it?

  2. Triple-A predicts more Americans will stay home for Fourth so buy yourself an inflatable pool, some sand, fake palm tree and get hammered.

  3. Planning the Norwex wish list for every new parent. Keep babies and toddlers safe – ditch those harmful cleaning chemicals!

  4. Aw, come on, Phil. You big snob. ;) Playing in the hose is a rite of childhood.

  5. I’m with Heather. Sometimes we take “parenting” too far. Let the kids enjoy playing under the sprinkler or the hose to the nth degree. They…….and you…..will cherish the memories.

  6. Denying your kids the pleasure of playing with a spray hose and/or kiddie pool sounds alittle nuts to me. The pool doesn’t need to be blow up – get one of those molded plastic ones. These can be easily dumped and then rested against the side of the house, garage, fence, etc. to dry. Just give them a laddle, a watering can, and a beach pail and you’re set for an hour or more.

  7. I’m with Heather and Carole and Julie. Just look at the joy on their faces. I get the bugs in the standing water in the blow up pool, but the hose? That’s just silly.

  8. Your kids look estatic! Since when is playing with a hose white trash? Either you or your husband need to quit taking themselves so seriously…Your post prompted warm fuzzies of my time growing up being squirted down by my dad in the front yard along with the neighborhood kids

  9. “White trash?” Hmmmm.
    Get a grip, Stephanie. I know you don’t take kindly to criticism, but this post is lame. Perhaps to make yourself feel better you could go out to an extravagant dinner, buy a bigger SUV or home, pick out some new bedding, post pictures of your ring, or write some more about all the things you wish you had time for. Stick to your stupid wishful lists that pose as writing. Seriously, you just keep getting worse.

  10. Ah, gimme a break. White trash? Thanks so much. I send my kids out every summer to play with the hose and I remember doing that as a kid. There’s nothing trashy about that.

    Just look at the joy on their faces. That picture is cute and they will treasure those memories.

  11. Author

    Point made. You’re right. I’m caving.

    The question is, what kind of pool should we get them? A hard plastic one, or something with a splish splash slide feel?

  12. White trash is playing in the neighbor’s horse trough. Playing with a hose is not white trash. Believe me, I’ve done both. I still play with a hose when the opportunity arises.

  13. Plastic. They are cheap (about 5 bucks at babies r us) and easy to keep clean and easy to stick in the garage when not in use. The kids will love it.

  14. I actually like to turn the hose on myself in the summer after gardening or whatnot, though I’m not sure I enjoy it as much as Abigail sure does. I’ll try harder this summer.

  15. It’s not white trash. You just forget how to have fun. Look at them. This post kind of disappoints me too. Anyways… hard plastic. The blow up ones always end up getting a hole in them. And then you can dump it and clean it our easier. Or move it easier.

  16. Get the hard plastic kiddie pool and dump it out when you’re done with it. Perfectly clean. Also, being in a smaller pool actually makes kids safe — it’s their own special place, unlike a giant in-ground pool, with its scary deep end. I still remember how happy it made me feel when my mom would set up my little pool.

  17. At the risk of opening myself up to more criticism I’ll try to clarify. My point was that as an every day solution to what the twins should do to play, learn, experience during the summer months there must be a better solution than marching them out front in sundress and polo shirt and turning a hose on them like civil rights protestors. Put on their bathing suits and attach a slip n slide? Play a water game? Get a slide? Something.

  18. Just play with your kids. You don’t need all that stuff. I can’t believe that stephanie would post a picture showing such joy and then post about how that behavior needs to be cut out. Your kids like playing with a hose. That’s what THEY like. I shudder to think what will happen when they finally admit they don’t like 1000 count sheets and that they wish mommy and daddy spent less time decorating and more time playing with them with the hose.

  19. Ah, sarcasm. It’s a lost art. Most people aren’t intelligent enough to discern it.

    I hope this post was sarcastic…if not, me and my cousin Lee Ray are fixin’ to come down thar and open a can of whoop ass on you and that wuss Phil to teach y’all a lesson on lightenin’ up a little. We all played in pools when we were little and we ain’t dead. *spits, wipes mouth with back of hand*

  20. Oh Phil — if you don’t want them wearing their sundress and polo shirt to play with the hose and sprinker, let them put their swimsuits on first. LOL

    I’ve lived in South Texas my whole life and there is nothing better on a hot summer day, than to set up the sprinklers and let your kids run through them.

    I too suggest the hard plastic pool, but also a slip-n-slide — my girls (5&8) think that is just the best toy ever!!!!

    Stay cool!!!! :)

  21. phil – I’d definitely get them out of their nice clothes, why ruin them this way? Bathing suits, or some of your and steph’s old tshirts, they’d love that I bet. Also slip and slide is the best if you have a sloped lawn, they mght be a bit too little though

    You’re probably going to piss off a lot of people with the white trash comment, but stephanie has used stereotypes a lot in the past, including about herself, JAP etc. She just isn’t PC, which is kind of nice

  22. wow. what a bunch of snobs. your kids are clearly having a ton of fun with the water hose, horror, in their clothes. oh my! next thing you know they will be eating watermelon, with their hands! Holy shite!

  23. You just called my family white trash! I let my kids play in the front yard in a blow up pool sometimes. Or with one of those spinning sprinkler attachments. In my defense, we only use the front yard because the back is overgrown with weeds and full of rusted car parts.

  24. Apparently I’m totally into white trash water sports and didn’t even know it – as we speak, both my kids are sliding down the playset slide into the nice big blow up pool I’ve installed at the bottom of the slide. They’ve never had so much fun and even the neighbour kids, who have a “real” pool in their yard, are in my yard because according to the kids, “you can go into a regular pool anytime, but this is way fun”!!lol I’m sure that after spending thousands on his inground pool, my neighbour is thrilled that his kids would rather play in our $20 Target pool!lol Know what else we’ve done – used the big plastic tarps we use to cover our patio furniture during winter and put them at the bottom of the slide to make a slip and slide – we must have had a dozen neighbourhood kids for that one last week!lol I prefer to consider it fun and imaginative rather than trashy!lol

  25. Hard plastic, for sure. See if you can find the kind with abrightly colored fish design or something similar. I used to love those as a kid.

    As for playing with the hose, maybe just take them out of their nice clothes. Great photo by the way.

  26. LOL!! I thought you were trying to be funny, and it worked on me. My siblings and I were really white trash. My grandmother actually took a large trashcan and filled it with water. Four of us squeezed ourselves into that thing with a waterhose. Ah the memories! Years later when we could swim, grandma bought us all passes to one of those fancy waterparks. I’d suggest what others have already: a hard plastic pool. They are much easier to clean and more sturdy for the kids to climb in and out of. I’ve been looking for one all summer and can’t find it! All I find are the blowup ones or the ones with the flimsy walls.

    1. Hi,
      If you haven’t found a pool yet you might look at a hardware store – like Lowe’s, Home Depot, or Ace Hardware.
      Also, you might look at Petsmart or Petco – the people I babysit for got their toddler one at Petsmart. Yeah it’s made for dogs but it works just the same…
      … but that might be white trash too right?… using a dog pool for your kid?

  27. “Should” and “Must:” Two words that can take the joy out of anything.

    And create unnecessary stress.

  28. The most amazing photo op ever! It makes me giggle out loud and that is PERFECT medicine! To be that age again….and have that much innocent fun! That is the biggest testimony to pure bliss if I’ve ever seen!

  29. Ah – you are such a shallow snob. The only irony here is that your Pottery Barn taste is completely pedestian and you have no clue.

    Oh and the fact that you SO wish you had a real pool is screaming out here. Why not have one of your servants take them to the Club?

  30. Get over yourself…. you and your husband are such snobs. Your beans look for so happy. Isn’t that what you want as a parent… happy childhood memories…

  31. You can get a large, inflatable pool at Target — with a filter. I agree that it’s a little low-brow, but I could give a shit about what anyone thinks, especially when it’s 90+ degrees outside.

  32. I always bought one of the soft plastic pools for my daughter when she was younger. We had one that had a whale in the middle that you could use as a sprinkler to spray water into the pool. I like the soft sides because they were easier to climb out of for her (but then is when she was really small, just over one). I have some great pictures of her standing in the pool eating watermelon. The pool was my saving grace on some days because we didn’t have a/c.

    I love the picture of your babies.

  33. Wow, Stephanie and Phil. You’ve been accused for a long time of being snobs. With this post, did you just plead guilty?

  34. I’d take white trash over “trapped in a loveless marriage” any day. The things you two find acceptable (saying “fuck you” and “get a disease” to each other) vs. the things you find unacceptable (hosing your kids down in the yard) boggle the mind.

  35. The thing that makes me sad about this post/pic is that the nanny is the one spraying the delighted children with the hose while the parents stand inside watching from the window.

    1. Author

      This is the only comment here that pisses me off. The fact is, we’re so goddamn lucky to be able to watch through the window at all. We weren’t away at an office doing our work, we were at home doing work. Had we worked at an office building, we’d have missed the moment entirely. At least we were able to be there to capture the moment on film. What a terribly judgmental statement to make. I can live with the snob comments because clearly much of this post was written in jest… and hell, I CAN be a snob. But I don’t actually spit on my children.

  36. Perhaps the point Nan was making is that your kids were having a genuinely fun moment – with the nanny, while you two were inside thinking of a “classier” way for them to stay cool.

    Oh and nice way to add to your original entry about the in-ground pool and the club. Statistics aside, you’d LOVE an real pool – admit it.

  37. OK–listen to me: been there, caved in & done that! Tried both kinds of pools and the softie kind gets slippery and is hard to clean out/blowup/deflate/etc. I thought it was just yukky once my kids were past the “toddling into the sides & splitting a lip” stage. Get a large, hard plastic pool. Ours has looked good and lasted for years. It is the Step 2 Big Splash Center with removable slide. Even has built in corner seats–awesome. Add a 1/2c or so bleach when you put in the water, and use a pool skimmer net to scoop leaves & grass regularly. My kids loved doing this themselves even. I also put a small square bucket of water near the slide and edge so they could step there first. That eliminated lots of dirt in the pool. Or, you can set up near a patio or on the deck. That worked well for me, too. You’ll need DH to help empty it each week though. Drain is slow and once it was drained as much as it would go, we would dump the rest. My kids and their friends LOVED our little pool. I even hopped in with them on really hot days. Oh, the fun we had…some are teens now, so I kinda miss those days now. Only the youngest occasionally asks to set it up. Really, enjoy it while it lasts (and take lots of pics).

  38. I’m about to gross you out even further at the thought of bugs, etc. in a kiddie pool. Not only did our kids, now grown (36 & 40) & unscathed by the experience, play in one of the hard plastic pools, but so did our dog. Tout ensemble! In fact, our oldest shared his toys with the dog, both teething on them at the same time. None was the worse for wear. I figured they were building up their immune systems.

  39. I’ll admit that I thought the post was a bit off-putting with the white trash headline. I thought that it was sort of ironic that there is a huge SUV with Texas plates too :) Each person’s idea of white trash is different. I got what you were saying, even if I don’t agree. I would also recommend the Little Tykes turtle sandbox as a great pool. I bought one for a friend’s daughter and it is wonderful.

    The last comment about “at least we were able to be there to capture the moment on film” is awful. So the people that can’t be there and have their nanny doing this with the kids are the “bad guys”? I know that you say that you are lucky to work from home, but that reads just as judgmental as you call out.

  40. Yay, it´s all been said!

    I second this –
    “I’d take white trash over “trapped in a loveless marriage” any day”

    and this –
    “The only irony here is that your Pottery Barn taste is completely pedestrian”
    (I call that petit bourgeois American playing fancy)

    and also this –
    “pick out some new bedding, post pictures of your ring, (…) stick to your stupid wishful lists that pose as writing.

    eh, written in jest? you´ve “ex post” squeezed some of your posts into that kind of perpective, if they triggered well deserved reactions like these.

  41. God Stephanie why do you guys work during the day? It’s so disrespectful to your children.
    And how dare you give someone deserving and hardworking a job, in this economy no less! That’s just selfish.

  42. Ick, this post is almost enough to make me stop reading. I know it was written in jest, but still. Ick.

    (Stephanie I do agree with you that nanny comment was out of line.)

  43. Wow,Steph do you need to borrow some money to put in a inground pool,I dont like the plastic pools at either-boy this bunch sure can turn on you,I think she was Joking People

  44. The thing about sarcasm and stereotypes is that they are only funny when there is some truth to them. And there is nothing white trash about this. And, even if there is, who cares when the children appear so joyful? Look, I am a fffing blue blood, but my parents made sure that you don’t judge a person’s class by their appearance, or lawn toys.

    Also, Phil, civil rights protestors would KILL to get sprayed with cool water, versus what they usually encounter(ed).

    It is okay to be a snob (raises a hand), but this post screams absolute cluenessless about how to be a snob without belittling another’s joy.

  45. I agree with Stephanie – that last comment kind of pissed me off. While I agree there was a small amount of snobbery going on, at least Stephanie and Phil both work at home and can see and be there for there kids when knees are skinned, feelings are hurt, etc.

    Is it somehow better to have been in an office and missed the moment entirely? Frankly, my husband and I joke sometimes about being white trash…the only difference is that I don’t share our convos on a blog.

    You’ve got huevos, Stephanie.

  46. what a terribly judgmental statement to make? No more white trash water sports? Pot calling kettle black.

    Agree with above posters. GET the fuck over yourselves.

  47. Umm, no, it would not be better to be in an office working while the children play if you can afford not to. The point I was making was that you both had time to stand looking out the window and have a conversation about how ‘white trash’ it was for the nanny to be spraying them with a hose and debate about other more ‘appropriate’ activities that would meet your standards. It seems, then, that one of you would have time to go out and do the spraying yourself instead of narrating it. If you don’t want opinions (or judgments as you put it), why do you post and leave comments open? Do you only want comments that blow sunshine up your arse? Sorry I didn’t call you both snobs instead, which you seem to prefer. You baffle me.

  48. Wow, you really are a snob, and so is your husband. I’m surprised you would even post something like this. Dissapointed to say the least. Like it matters to you and your stuck up snob of a husband. Oh well.

  49. Playing in the sprinkler is a rite of passage. White trash? Ok.. If you think letting your kids have fun is trashy so be it. I feel sorry for them.

    Sure, get the big ass pool but know that one of you (or your nanny) is going to have to be super vigilant at this stage of the game (24/7) regardless of the size of the pool. (A small hard one can be easily drained and sprayed out daily).

    Sometimes I think you put this type of post up just for the reaction and comments they get. Because playing in the sprinkler is just pure joy to your children. Be happy they are so happy with the simple things in life! That is LIVING!

    Living is not winning the argument, having the best of this or that. Living is enjoying and appreciating the little wonderful things in life. Like enjoying your kids having a blast with a simple garden hose.

  50. wonderful that you both get to work at home and look through the window at what the nanny is doing with your kids.

    But you know if it were me I would probably take the day time hours with my kids while they are awake and active and work nights at the work at home careers. In fact just what I did when they were that little.

    They grow up SO fast… They really do.

    1. Author

      We don’t have that option. Not all “work at home” careers mean you make your own hours. There will never be enough hours in the day for any of us to feel like it’s all balanced. We’re lucky enough to get to spend as much time as we do with our children each day. My children will only be this age once. I’m living it, and I’m very aware with each passing day, that these are the years I’ll look back on, the ones I’d trade anything in the world to have back. I also know that my work matters, and I’m not going to apologize for either. You do the best you can.

  51. For what it’s worth, I happen to love your take on life. Especially for keeping it real. Especially all your passion. Especially the way you write about your kids. I, for one, understood through the obvious lighthearted sarcastic tone of this post that while there was truth to the words, you and Phil were being playful. People post on here as if you never spend time with your kids at all and prefer to shine your ring. Quite frankly, I don’t see what’s wrong with both. It’s okay to want, it’s okay to complain, it’s okay to play with a hose, and it’s okay to joke about all of it. I think people on here need to lighten up. You just keep being you… the person who inspires me to think, to take more pictures of my own kids, and who gets me to make (eat, and enjoy!) fish!

    If you do get the pool, don’t post pictures of your kids enjoying themselves again. People will just piss all over it with their I Told You So attitudes. And no one wants piss in their kiddie pool.

  52. How come you sound so blissed-out about life when you write those fantasy-ish posts that glamourize bedding, furniture, or wine, but you sound so frustrated and miserable when you describe actual real-life moments? Even the good ones, like watching your children play outside?

    Personally, I’d take the small family moments any day over the all the “stuff”, diamond rings, and fancy towels you seem so obsessed with.

    Your posts only sound truly happy to me when they are about escaping from your life, not engaging in it. It’s logical given what you describe about how you and your husband relate, but let the fantasy life go and figure out how to find happiness with the real one!

  53. I’m late on this thread but don’t get them a slip n slide. I suffered a concussion when I was five from slipping on one of those, falling on my back and my head hitting a (small) rock beneath the plastic.
    Those things are dangerous as fuck.

  54. That picture is perfect, not a care in the world and too young to have those “white trash” hangups, they are kids and let them be kids until they grow up like us and worry too much what people will say. They are precious.

  55. p.s. We don’t get to see these kids smile in pictures that often, this truly is a childhood classic picture. Phil, chill out!

  56. meant to type – “styling” your life. Sorry, the cat jumped on the keyboard. Gee, I guess real life is not perfect.

  57. I love that picture! I can actually taste the cold water and hear them laughing.

    I didn’t take offense to the white trash comment at all. I truly grew up white trash who put on airs of being better than white trash. We had the requisite 5 cars, only 2 of which ran. We had horses and we played in stagnant ponds. We played with firecrackers and blew up our toys. We hugged wet dogs and ate dirt pies. We ate peanut butter and banana sandwhiches and flav-or-aid over kool-aid. Our popsicles were homemade. My drunk grandmother was our “nanny.” My brother and I beat the shit out of each other on a daily basis.

    I grew up just fine. I have a PhD in English and I still drink out of a hose.

    Anyway, I liked this entry.

  58. Well, my “white trash” childhood involved not only playing in the hose, the sprinklers, and a plastic pool, but also catching crawdads in the creek that ran through our front yard. And I wouldn’t have traded it for all the club pools in the world. Don’t let your snobbishness infect your children.

  59. My hubby and I just bought our niece and nephew a slip & slide. While I too worried a little bit about the trashiness factor their parents didn’t seem to alarmed. I think we’re smart enough to know it’s a “backyard” activity!

    I’m sure your kids will love it PLUS it won’t ruin your lawn. (The weight of the water, and lack of oxygen to your lawn will RUIN it!)

    Have a great time!

    Hope Phil is feeling well :)

  60. Those kids are so adorable and are growing up so fast! They do look so happy!

    A few things:

    It always surprises me when SK doesn’t delete negative comments. Fans, get over it: people are entitled to their opinions and blog comments don’t always have to be as blindly supportive as some of you think.

    It might’ve been fun if S and P had blown of work for a half hour and gone down to get wet with the kids. But that’s not always possible.I’m sure some of you judgmental readers have had to leave your kids with sitters or at day care to work, this is no different.

    Yes, it’s hard to see this couple that has these gorgeous kids and so much materially, but who can’t seem to get their relationship or maybe even some of their values lined up. Some of you/us probably wish we had half as much talent, opportunity, luck. Looking back at my own life, I often want to scream at Stephanie to stop, slow down and enjoy the moment more than she does. So driven…time passes in the blink of an eye and before you know it, it’s gone.

    However, it’s not all been roses…as I continue to read the blog, it’s clear that Phil’s illness, and Lucas’ early problems have not been easy and have taken a toll. I’d like to think they’d give up all they have to not have to gone through that.

    Phil does come off as a jerk and a prig in the blog, Stephanie as a materialistic, crass JAP. Part of that I’m sure is that we can’t possibly see it all or know them. But part is probably valid.

    I can’t remember how old Phil is, but for all her accomplishments, Stephanie is relatively young with a lot going on. I am going to bet that likely 5 years from now, and definitely in 10, maturation will be more obvious in posts and their relationship.

    1. I think she is their personal assistant. Because one ‘needs’ a maid and a nanny and a gardener and an assistant – at least if you Stephanie.

  61. The hard plastic ones, if they don’t have a drain, weigh a tonne and are really hard to dump. We just replaced ours with an inflatable one with a drain, we dump it into the garden every couple of days (recycling the water!) and it stays pretty clean. Am I white trash? I don’t know, but my kids are sure having a blast in the backyard not worrying about who thinks their choice of playthings isn’t classy enough. Stop worrying so much about what is “trash” and what is “class”, what difference does it make? Life is short, have more fun, girl.

  62. I agree with the poster who said steroetypes are only funny if there’s some amount of truth to them. And I just had no fricking clue that people thought playing in the hose was white trash. I mean, I’m sitting here thinking, and I’m wondering what high class people do instead. If kiddie pools and hoses are out, if the club is too far on a hot afternoon, if in-ground pools are dangerous, well…what’s left? Do high class people just sweat a lot? Is upper-crust synonymous with “suffers heat stroke rather than turn on the hose”? Is there some danger I’m not aware of involved in getting your clothes, gasp, WET?! I mean, do upper class people have fancy washing machines that don’t use water or something? And then some commenter remarked on the irony of the SUV with Texas plates. Are SUVs white trash, too? Or is it the Texas plates, because I don’t think there’s anything I can do about that one. I’m just really starting to fear that my whole life has been a lie, that I’m not as middle-class as I thought, that I might truly be white trash, with all my kiddie-pool-playing and TX-plate-having.

  63. Once when we lived in Philadelphia, the kids (who were pretty young back then) were playing in the sprinkers, and toward the end of the night, I just went in and got a bar of soap and the shampoo to clean them up outside. NOW THAT is white trash! hahah. BUT, the memories are awesome!

  64. Wow-I do think she was being funny! I am a huge book nerd and when I read about how writers actually write-the majority of them say that it is a real job and takes most of the day! I had to go back to work when my son was 9 weeks old due to money issues. What is wrong with working from home and looking at your children out of the window? I think that some of these people just like to bitch! Also, be happy you have nice weather- in Maine we have had only about two nice days since the first of June.

  65. Nothing is lower class than deciding that something as innocuous as a water hose is white trash. Work on your marriage and figure out how to raise kids in a home that is genuinely happy instead of worrying about what goes on in your backyard.

  66. I’m so white trash I had no idea that the hours we spent playing in a sprinkler was white trash. Love the comment “my drunk grandma was my ‘nanny.'”

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